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A quarantine unit (QU) is a biosecure enclosure to house animals moving on to a farm from a market or other holding, or for animals returning from an agricultural show or market.

First published:
12 February 2019
Last updated:

The QU will quarantine animals from the rest of the main holding for the duration of the 6DSS, allowing the rest of the holding to function as normal.

A set of operational rules and standards will guarantee the maximum level of biosecurity for the farm and restrict contact between quarantined animals and animals on the main holding.

More information about the scheme and how to get a QU can be found in the Guidance for Livestock Keepers on this website.

The benefits of a quarantine unit

QUs have been designed to strike a balance between flexibility of movement for trade and maintaining a high standard of biosecurity.
A farmer may use a QU for the following:

  • To quarantine returned or introduced animals, whilst being free to move animals from their main holding to a show or market during this time.
  • To move animals returning from a show to subsequent shows, without them having to observe a 6DSS. Provided they are quarantined between shows and observe a 6DSS after their final show.

Farms that do not have a certified QU will be required to observe a 6DSS when introducing or returning animals to the main holding.

We recommended farmers decide whether or not to establish a QU based on the needs and operation of their farm. Some farmers will find great benefit in establishing a QU.

Others may prefer to operate whilst adhering to the 6DSS rule. A farmer may choose to certify up to 2 QUs to increase the level of flexibility of movement and trade for their farm.


QUs are a Welsh Government owned scheme. The certification and operational duties for the scheme are outside of government. They are held by an external UKAS approved certification body.

UKAS has approved the following certification bodies:
• Quality Welsh Food Certification Ltd (QWFC)

To achieve certification, a QU must be inspected by a certification body. If a unit meets the specifications, it will become a certified QU for 18 months.

After this time it will need re-certification to continue operating as a QU. A fee is charged for the certification and renewal service which is set by the certification body.

Reporting and inspection

QUs are subject to unannounced in use inspections by the Animal and Plant Health Organisation (APHA). They ensure QUs maintain effectiveness from certification date to renewal date.

QU requirements

To ensure this high standard of biosecurity is maintained, QUs must adhere to a set of requirements and operational rules. These rules are vital to ensuring the maximum amount of separation between the quarantined animals and the main holding.

QUs minimise the risk of disease being passed to the main holding, and by extension, other Welsh farms.

The purpose of the QU requirements is to prevent animals housed in a QU from making any contact with the other animals on the farm. Each requirement is designed to provide the maximum level of separation possible.

More information on the requirements can be found in the Guidance for Livestock Keepers on the Welsh Government website.

Upholding these requirements will reduce the risk of highly infectious exotic and endemic diseases from spreading to Welsh farms and will help guarantee a healthier national herd/flock.

QUs must be certified by a Certification Body accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). There is currently one Certification Body accredited to certify QUs: Quality Welsh Food Certification Ltd. Email: Tel: 01970 636 688.

Following the Milestone Review of the QU scheme in 2018, the information on these pages may change as review recommendations are considered and implemented.

For further queries on the Quarantine Unit scheme, please contact:

Animal Disease Policy
Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
CF10 3NQ